You can learn how to get rid of pesky flying ants with a few tips and techniques. A few flying ants is usually a sign that the colony is close by. You may be able to combat a few ants without needing to destroy the colony.
Strange Annual Flying Ant Phenomenon
Flying ants emerge once a year as part of their mating transformation. Almost every type of ant goes through this transformation. Fortunately, it isn't the entire ant colony that sprouts wings, just the males and queen that are duty bound to reproduce.
How to Distinguish Flying Ants From Termites
Flying ants and termites have very different body shapes. They also have different types of wings.
- The body shape of an ant has three distinct segments including a defined waist while a termite has a head and thick waist.
- Ants have one pair of long wings in front and one pair of short wings in back.
- Ants have bent antennae while termites have straight antennae.
- Termites have two pairs of equal length wings.
When Flying Ants Become a Problem
Where you see flying ants determines if you should become upset or simply shrug off their presence. Swarms of flying ants in your yard don't warrant concern. Once they've completed their annual mating, the males will die, and the queen will shed her wings in preparation to start her new colony underground once more.
Flying Ants Inside Your House
If you encounter flying ants in your home, it's time to be concerned. For example, mating carpenter ants infesting your home bore into the wood to build their colony. These pests are often incorrectly identified as termites.
Getting Rid of Flying Ants in Your Home
You can use an insecticide spray for flying ants. Don't spray around children or pets. You should take precautions, such as a mask so you don't breathe in the insecticide. Alternatively, you can make your own baits and repellents.
Homemade Flying Ant Bait
You can create poisonous bait out of sugar and borax powder. You will mix these two ingredients to create a paste.
- Small bowl
- 1/8 cup granulated sugar
- 1/8 cup borax powder
- Water, enough to create a paste
- Mix the sugar and borax in the bowl with the spoon and gradually add small amounts of water, stirring to mix the ingredients. You want to create a paste.
- Place the paste in jar lids or cut small squares of cardboard or cardstock.
- Set the lids or cardboard/cardstock where you've seen ant activity.
- The ants will carry the poison mixture back to their nest and kill the colony.
- You can substitute baking soda for borax and powdered sugar for granulated sugar. The chemical reaction between the baking soda and the ants' natural formic acid will kill the aunts.
Make Your Own Flying Ant Repellent
You can mix your own flying ant repellent. This formula won't kill the ants, but it will drive them out of their current location.
- Sprayer, size dependent on area needed to be sprayed
- Liquid dish non-detergent soap
- Cinnamon essential oil
- Peppermint essential oil
- Pine essential oil
- Lemon essential oil
- You want to mix the water and soap in a 2:1 ratio.
- If you're using a quart sprayer, mix 4 cups of water with 2 cups of liquid soap.
- Add ½ teaspoon each of pine, lemon, peppermint, and cinnamon essential oils.
- Shake to mix well.
- Spray into swarms and any areas where you see ant activity.
- Repeat if needed.
Water, Sugar and Soap Lure
You can lure flying ants with a bright light and attract them to a bowl of sugary, soapy water.
- Shallow bowl
- Liquid dish non-detergent soap
- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- Light, such as a desk task lamp
- Side table
- You'll want to place the table, bowl and light where you've encountered the flying ants.
- Fill the bowl with water. You can wait to fill the bowl after you've set it on the table.
- Add sugar and stir with spoon, until the sugar dissolved.
- Add liquid soap in a 2:1 ratio of water:soap.
- Mix slightly with a spoon just enough to break up the soap so it floats to the surface.
- Set the bowl on the table.
- Position the lamp above the bowl about 8".
- Turn on the lamp and turn off the other lights.
- The ants will be attracted to the light and fly around it, dipping to taste the sugary water. Some will fall into the water while others will attempt to drink the water and end up entrapped by the weight of the soap and drown.
Keep Flying Ants Out of Your Garden
You can plant aromatic herbs, such as rosemary, peppermint, lavender, and lemon balm to repel ants from wherever the plants grow. Be mindful of peppermint since like other mints, it can become invasive very quickly if not contained.
Ways to Get Rid of Flying Ants
Once you understand how to get rid of flying ants, you can create a plan of attack. If none of your efforts succeed in driving the ants out or in destroying their colony, it's time to seek an exterminator before the ants create costly damage to your home.